Nortel postpones MEN optical networking and Carrier Ethernet asset auction

NOVEMBER 13, 2009 By Stephen Hardy -- Citing “ongoing discussions with interested parties,” Nortel Networks Corp. has postponed the auction of its global Optical Networking and Carrier Ethernet businesses originally scheduled to take place today.

NOVEMBER 13, 2009 By Stephen Hardy -- Citing “ongoing discussions with interested parties,” Nortel Networks Corp. has postponed the auction of its global MEN optical networking and Carrier Ethernet businesses originally scheduled to take place today.

The company has given qualified bidders until November 17, 2009 to submit offers. The original deadline for bids had been November 9.

A new date for the auction has not been released. Nortel says it expects to provide “a further update on the auction process and sale of these businesses” at an unspecified time next week.

The bankruptcy sales procedures give Nortel the right to postpone the auction three business days, which would mean until no later than next Wednesday, November 18. However, Ciena -- which submitted a stalking horse bid of approximately $521 million -- also has the right to postpone the auction for 48 hours, potentially in addition to Nortel’s postponement. The bankruptcy judges have discretionary power to push back the auction date as well.

Ciena has already received court approval as well as regulatory clearance to proceed with the proposed purchase.

Speculation on competitive bidders has focused most closely on Nokia Siemens Networks, which already has bid unsuccessfully on other parts of Nortel. A Nortel spokesman declined to comment on the number and identities of the "interested parties" mentioned in the announcement.

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